Sought nationally and internationally as an expert/leader on Hispanic mental health issues, Mr. Acosta serves on the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma and on the State of New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners for approximately 6 years, where he served as the Board's Vice-Chairman for nearly three of those years. In addition, Mr. Acosta was appointed by former New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine to the New Jersey Health Care Access Study Commission. Previously, he served as Chair of former New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey’s Hispanic Advisory Council on Policy Development Initiatives’ Health Subcommittee Mental Health Work Group and as Co-Chair of the Health Subcommittee. His work on Hispanic mental health has appeared in numerous professional publications and he is a frequent speaker at local, state, national and international events regarding Hispanic mental health issues. In addition, he had a column entitled, Point of View, in a quarterly bilingual newspaper on Hispanic mental health titled, Salud Mental, throughout the paper's existence.
Mr. Acosta serves or has served on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations, and on several statewide advisory committees, including the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) National Board of Directors, Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc.'s Board of Directors (New York and New Jersey), the March of Dimes New Jersey Chapter State Board, the March of Dimes New Jersey Chapter's Statewide Hispanic Advisory Committee and the Central New Jersey Boy Scout Council Board of Directors. He also served as the Chair of the National Hispanic/Latino American Agenda Summit Mental Health Issues and Platforms Committee in 2004, Co-Chair of the Policy Committee for a National Latino Behavioral Health Coalition, and is a founding and existing Chair of the Alliance for Latino Behavioral Health Workforce Development.
A State of New Jersey Licensed Social Worker, Mr. Acosta has more than 19 years of direct service and administrative experience working with children and families in both clinical and social service settings. He has served as a volunteer in many capacities, such as a mentor for a teenage inner city youth, as a Local Coordinator for the 2000 Million Mom March, and as the 2004 Million Mom March Tri-State Captain for Spanish-Speaking Communities. For his work on the 2000 Million Mom March event, he received a State of New Jersey Senate Resolution recognizing his work and was invited to the White House for an event recognizing many of the individuals who helped organize the event. His most recent honors include a 2010 Maria DeCastro Blake Community Service Award from the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center at the Newark Public Library, being named on of the "Top 20 Latinos in America 40 and Under" by Latino Leaders Magazine, December 2009/January 2010 Issue, one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics in America" by Hispanic Business Magazine, October 2008, the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health's 2009 Minority Health Community Trailblazer Leader Award for the Latino community, a 2008 Eli Lilly and Company Welcome Back Award for Destigmatization, a 2008 Dr. Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Award for Community Service Leadership, a 2008 NJBIZ Healthcare Hero Award for Education Efforts as an Individual, a 2007 Advancing Minority Mental Health Award from the American Psychiatric Foundation, a 2007 "Forty Under 40" Award from NJBIZ Magazine, a national leadership award in Latino Mental Health from the Latino Behavioral Health Institute, a Certificate of Recognition Award from the American Psychiatric Foundation in May 2006, a 2006 National Association of Social Workers - New York City Chapter and New York Latino Social Work Task Force Leadership Award, the National Association of Puerto Rican/Hispanic Social Workers' Leadership Award in November 2004, and the 2004 Rookie of the Year Award from the March of Dimes, North Jersey Chapter.
A New Jersey certified firefighter, Mr. Acosta is a graduate of the Middlesex County Fire Academy. Upon graduation from the academy, Mr. Acosta served as a volunteer firefighter for the Keasbey Fire Protection Company #1. He assisted for nearly a month at Ground Zero with the search and recovery efforts after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
The proud father of a 18-year old daughter, Mr. Acosta would like to represent the citizens of New Jersey in an elected office one day. Mr. Acosta resides in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Key Professional Accoomplishments to Date:
|-||Appointed by three New Jersey Governors to serve on various licensing boards, commissions or councils. These include: The New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners, the Governor's Council on Mental Health Stigma and the New Jersey Health Care Access Study Commission.|
|-||Invited speaker to at least 150 local, state, national and international conferences on mental health issues or early childhood education as Key Note Speaker, Workshop Presenter, Panel Member, or Expert Session Facilitator.|
|-||Recipient of over 25 local, state and national awards for advocacy or leadership in social work or Hispanic mental health issues. Awards include recognition from Hispanic Business Magazine, Eli Lilly and Company, MD Advantage, NJBiz, the American Psychiatric Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Psychiatric Association, the Latino Behavioral Health Institute, the National Association of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Social Workers, and the National Latina/Latino Psychological Association and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.|
|-||Invited to have own column in nationally disseminated bilingual newspaper on Hispanic mental health.|
|-||Author of nationally disseminated Model Mental health Program for Hispanics Report.|
|-||Co-author of Comprehensive In-Depth Literature Review and Analysis of Hispanic Mental Health Issues with Specific Focus on Members of the Following Ethnic Groups: Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. The report has been shared with over 20,000 individuals throughout the country and abroad, and is now included as a chapter in a textbook on Hispanic Mental Health titled, Mental Health Care for New Hispanic Immigrants: Innovative approaches in contemporary Clinical Practice. This same report is also included as a chapter in the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Services (Volume 3, Issue 1/2 2005).|
|-||Invited to serve on the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Planning Group and Organizing Committee for the National Network for the Elimination of Disparities in Behavioral Health.|
|-||Elected to serve a three-year term as a Member of the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) National Board of Directors.|
|-||Elected as Chair of the Alliance for Latino Behavioral Health Workforce Development.|